Uninsured Drivers in Massachusetts
As the summer heats up and COVID restrictions lift, people are hitting the road for the first in over a year. More drivers on the road, unfortunately, results in more car accidents. The aftermath and the insurance claims process is scary and complex. It is especially difficult and time-consuming when you’re recovering from an injury.
The questions running through your mind are likely: Who pays? How do I recover? Do I have to pay for my own medical care, even if the accident wasn’t my fault? The answer to these questions can become even more complicated if you are hit by an uninsured driver. The Law Offices of Richard Mucci can help you recover financially and walk you through the claims process.
Who qualifies as an uninsured driver?
An uninsured driver is someone who:
- Does not have insurance
- Does not have liability coverage to cover the damages they caused
- Has an insurance company that went out of business or refuses to pay the claim
Massachusetts law about uninsured drivers?
Uninsured drivers in Massachusetts could face a civil penalty. Massachusetts classifies this offense as a Civil Motor Vehicle Infraction (CMVI). If you are caught, you could face up to a $5,000 fine, up to one year in jail, and the loss of your driving privileges for an entire year.
Massachusetts estimates that there are 3.55% uninsured drivers on the road. To combat this, Massachusetts requires drivers to carry Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage in addition to the following mandatory minimum coverage:
- Bodily injury liability: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
- Bodily injury caused by an uninsured motorist (UM coverage): $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability: $5,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection: $8,000 per person in an accident
What to do if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver
- Collect the other drivers’ contact information. Contact information is important for step two and for filing a civil complaint.
- File a police report. Your insurance company will need this to process your claim.
- Get checked out at emergency care. It is always a good idea to get checked out following an accident, especially if you think you might accumulate medical bills for an injury related to the accident. Additionally, your insurance company will require medical records in order to pay out your bodily injury coverage.
- Hire an attorney. The claims process is complex, an attorney will let the insurers know you’re serious about your claim and help you obtain the highest settlement award possible.
- File a claim with your insurance company. When an uninsured driver hits you, the only place to turn is your own coverage. You can make a claim through your UM insurance.
An insurance company – even your own – knows you’re vulnerable. They are going to try to convince you to take a settlement for less than you deserve. After all, insurance is a business, and they want to protect their most valuable asset: money.
An attorney can help you navigate the claims process and negotiate with insurers on your behalf.
There is a chance that the damage to your vehicle and/or your medical bills will amount to larger than what is covered under your insurance.
You can pursue a lawsuit in court
You may be eligible to file a personal injury or negligence lawsuit in Massachusetts state court against the at-fault driver.
If you win in court, you will receive a judgment that entitles you to compensation. You may be able to recover from the at-fault driver.
However, if the at-fault driver does not have car insurance it is unlikely they have assets to pay the entire judgment amount. Pursuing a claim through your insurance company may be your best bet at recovery.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard Mucci have decades of experience in helping drivers through the claims process. Contact us today for a free consultation. We will assess your case and help you chart the best path to recovery.